IMG_4717Are people basically good? In my most recent novel, Live Free or Die, a major character, Henry Bouchard, raises the possibility that this question really doesn’t matter.  Evil versus good makes for a wonderful philosophical argument, but, Bouchard theorizes, it is really a non-argument. “It doesn’t matter that most people are basically good.”

His rationale is difficult to dispute. “Suppose that one-tenth of one percent of the population is truly evil. Actually, let’s make that one one-hundredth of one percent.” At that rate, we would have over thirty thousand evil people in the United States. Bouchard points out that it is “conservative estimate” but it doesn’t matter that most people are basically good. What matters is that we have more than enough bad folks to wreak havoc with all their good intentions.”

Live Free or Die is fiction, as is the character of Henry Bouchard, but his conclusion is rather unsettling.

This post is a follow-up to my previous “Evil or Mentally Ill” post, which, I will admit, did oversimplify the reasons for someone taking the life of another human being.

What do you think?